Satellites demonstrate in-orbit refueling

Posted on Tuesday, Apr 10 2007 @ 11:16 CEST by Thomas De Maesschalck
Last week two unmanned prototype satellites have successfully completed an autonomous satellite refueling mission while orbiting our planet:
The ASTRO satellite, one of two spacecraft flying the Orbital Express refueling mission, successfully pumped vital hydrazine fuel into its NextSat counterpart as part of Scenario 0-1, the first in a series of increasingly challenging tests.

“The first Orbital Express demonstration, Scenario 0-1, was very successful,” a spokesperson Jan Walker for the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which is overseeing the mission, said in a written update Wednesday. “ASTRO transferred just under 32 pounds (14 kilograms) of hydrazine to the NextSat client, meeting the scenario objective.”

Walker said the robotic arm-equipped ASTRO, short for Autonomous Space Transport Robotic Operations, first delivered the hydrazine during the early hours of April 1 via a fluid hookup, and then followed up by transferring an additional 19 pounds (8.6 kilograms) of propellant to NextSat a day later. NextSat was due to return propellant to ASTRO sometime today, she added.
More details at Space.


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Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.



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